Brazil could force Internet firms to have local data centres

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is seeking to publish legislation that will force Internet companies keep data on locals inside the country with the likes of Google and Facebook having to use data centres.

Reuters report that Rousseff was left angered by US National Security Agency [NSA] monitoring and is going to the Internet companies themselves to try and stop the flow of information leaving the country in future.

The legislation, being penned by a government lawmaker, should be completed next week and will force firms from abroad, like Facebook and Google, to have data centres in the country that are regulated by Brazilian privacy laws.

Alessandro Molon, a legislator in the Brazilian house of deputies, has been putting his weight behind the “Internet Constitution” bill since 2012, and has already been asked to add language concerning the data centres to the bill by the president, according to spokesman Leonardo Santos.

The same spokesperson said that Molon has been in talks with Internet companies over the last year and is aware of the challenges the bill poses to them. Although Santos added that the changes made by Rousseff are “difficult” but not “impossible” for companies to adhere to.

There are no details yet as to which types of data are covered by the bill or the companies that will be asked to have data centres inside Brazil, with observers sceptical as to whether the country will be successful.

Bill Coughran, a former senior VP of engineering at Google, speculated that the end result is likely to involve “less onerous restrictions that keep some data local”, which will “add to corporate expenses” and make “the customer experience slightly worse”.

Brazil has responded in this way due to revelations that the NSA had monitored emails, phone calls and other communications in the country and Rousseff’s own communications were compromised by the operation.

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